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February 3

Compiled and Written by Irene Stuber
who is solely responsible for its content.
This document has been taken from emailed versions
of Women of Achievement. The complete episode
will be published here in the future.

Astronaut Eileen Collins, cont.


QUOTE by Anita Loos.

Astronaut Eileen Collins, cont. from WOA 02-02

      "I'll be back," vowed the first American woman astronaut pilot to her hometown of Elmira, New York as her appearance in an April, 1995 triumphant parade before 20,000 of her hometown neighbors was cancelled by NASA following a death threat.       It was the second time Lt. Col. Eileen Collins, 37, had been threatened and NASA pulled her back to Houston just before she boarded a shuttle plane to her hometown rather than risk her life. At least one male astronaut Richard Covey gave the incident of Collins cancelling out of the parade a left-handed insult: "I won't change anything I do in public. I don't have any fears about it. I fly in rockets."
      Well, Collins also flew in rockets but no one had threatened Covey's life and it was NOT Collins choice to cancel. NASA *ORDERED* her to stay away.
      The threat on Collins' life was made in a phone call by a man to the Elmira newspaper office and he said in part "... during the parade tomorrow, I'm going to put a bullet in Eileen Collins' head..."
      Elmira citizens held the parade anyway and were incensed, as one columnist said, "We were robbed - cruelly, callously, thoughtlessly, robbed by an anonymous caller who probably resented (her) magnificent achievement of becoming the first woman space shuttle pilot.
      "Robbed of a chance to celebrate how a little girl who once lived on welfare in Elmira could grow up to lead humankind on one of its greatest adventures.
      "Robbed of the opportunity to show Eileen Collins how proud we are of her and how much she means to us."
      Collins was verbally threatened two weeks before the scheduled parade by a man during a presentation Collins made in November 1994. She had also been harassed by a man who said he was infatuated with her and became abusive when he couldn't meet her. Although the parade went on with Collins' parents and a replica of the space shuttle Discovery before thousands of cheering hometowners, three-days of events, which included the dedication of the Eileen M. Collins Observatory, were cancelled.
      One psychiatrist said women of high achievement in male-dominated fields are natural targets for such anger. "These men (who make threats) might feel there are too many uppity women in their lives. They might want to get back at these women." Some men feel threatened by successful women like Collins and first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, Dr. John Beziganan explained. Those men are frustrated that they haven't gotten what they expected or deserved in life.

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B. 02-03-1737, Elizabeth Graeme Ferguson - writer whose primary fame rests on being a go-between on behalf of the British with revolutionary forces at the behest (or insistence) of her husband.

B. 02-03-1821, Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman doctor in the United States, see Women of Achievement and Herstory 01-23, the anniversary of her graduation.
      After her graduation in 1849, she went to Paris to study which was then the world's foremost medical center, but Paris doctors proved as intolerant as their American colleagues. They would not permit her to study as a doctor. She was forced to enter a large maternity hospital as a student midwife. Because of an infection she contracted there, she lost the sight of one eye. When she returned to New York City in 1850, no hospital would allow her to practice there.
      Using funds donated by women - mostly Quakers, she and her sister opened the New York Infirmary for Women and Children, the first clinic for women examined and treated by women. After the Civil War, she returned to her native Britain where she continued to practice medicine.

B. 02-03-1874, Gertrude Stein, American author who lived most of her life in France with her lifelong companion Alice Tolkas. Her word repetitions challenged readers to explore the various and deeper meanings of words such as "A rose is a rose is a rose." Coined the phrase "the lost generation" and used the word "gay" for the first time in literature. Renowned collector of modern French art.

B. 02-03-1898, Lil Hardin Armstrong, pianist, singer, orchestra leader in Chicago, had her own band in 1920's, also played with King Oliver. Married Louis Armstrong who played in HER band in 1925 (divorced 1938). Led all-women and all-men bands, toured Europe, and was the house musician for Decca records.

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      "I'm furious about the women's liberationists. They keep getting up on soapboxes and proclaiming that women are brighter than men. That's true, but it should be kept very quiet or it ruins the whole racket."
            -- Anita Loos (1891-1981) author.

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